Chapter Sixteen: The Deserter

Team Avatar travel into a Fire Nation town, which is hosting a festival of Fire Nation culture. Unfortunately, Aang’s identity is discovered, but a strange man, Chey, helps the gang escape. Chey tells the trio about “the deserter”, a man named Jeong Jeong who is the first man to desert the Fire Nation army and live. More importantly, he is a powerful firebending master who is not allied with the Fire Nation. Jeong Jeong initially refuses to teach Aang because he is not ready to handle the destruction fire can bring. It is only when Avatar Roku intervenes that Jeong Jeong consents to teach Aang. Aang, unfortunately, demonstrates difficulties with the hard discipline required for safe firebending, and accidentally burns Katara, infuriating Sokka and Jeong Jeong. This leads Katara to the realization that she can use her waterbending to heal, but Aang nevertheless comes to regard firebending as dangerous and sadly vows never to firebend again. Meanwhile, Aang is tracked down by Admiral Zhao, discovered to be Jeong Jeong’s former student. He fights Aang, but Aang is able to escape him by using Zhao’s lack of self-control against him and causes Zhao to burn his own ships, as pointed out by Jeong Jeong. Aang is burned during his fight with Zhao but is healed by Katara, as Jeong Jeong disappears without a trace.

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